Archive for political economy

Averting Fascism

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2020 by jtoddring

Fascism is rising – here is how to avert it.

A short video talk, linked below, sparked these thoughts, which I will share. May they bless us with the courage, and the presence of mind, to avert the rising of fascism once again – which, make no mistake, is indeed our present course, and rising now.

I disagree with Yuval on some points, but he is a definite ally if he champions democracy and freedom, and opposes fascism. And further, he wisely urges decentralization, in order to preserve the former and prevent the latter, as Thomas Jefferson and many others have realized and urged as well.

He also helped the cause of both freedom and justice, which are not at odds, except in the minds of the indoctrinated and confused, by distinguishing nationalism, which is helpful, from fascism, hubris, xenophobia and aggression, which are always dangerous as well as delusional.

Moreover, he hit the proverbial nail on the head, by saying that fascism stems from fear and ego. Precisely. Transcend, or at least keep in check, these two human weaknesses, and we can live in freedom, well-being, richness of life, unity amidst diversity, and in peace.

I would add, however, that it is not really vanity or ego that is the root problem, but only the surface appearance of the problem. Vanity and ego attachment arise when people lack confidence, dignity, and trust in themselves. That is why they have ego attachment and vanity, and must continuously puff themselves up and build themselves up in various ways.

As Aldous Huxley, C. Wright Mills, Erich Fromm, and myself have pointed out, the deeper problem is that the people do not trust themselves. That is why they seek ego affirmation. And it is the deeper reason why they give their power away to elites, demagogues, false messiah figures, authoritarians, and to fascists.

(See: Brave New World Revisited, The Power Elite, Escape From Freedom, and my own work, Enlightened Democracy, and, The People vs The Elite.)

We must encourage and inspire the people to trust themselves. That is the root challenge. Then, they, and we, will make mistakes, certainly; but we will avoid the terrible pitfalls of fascism and elite rule, which are always incomparably greater disasters, and result in far greater suffering, far greater problems, and far greater evils.

Respect yourself and others. Trust yourself. Keep your dignity at all times. Have compassion for all beings, and for yourself. Forget the petty ego, which is a charade. True dignity runs deeper than that.

Inspire, encourage and empower yourself and others. Then, fascism will become impossible; and a better world for all, a world of freedom and justice both, will be, not only a beautiful dream, but a reality.

Or we can do what the majority of people, including activists and intellectuals, are doing. Cross your fingers and hope for the best. That should prevent fascism. It always worked before.

J. Todd Ring,

September 17, 2020

Ok, WordPress is being buggy again. I must ditch this platform soon. I can’t seem to paste the video link, sorry!

Web search – on Swiss Cows, never the fascist tech giant Google:

Why Fascism Is So Tempting

See also, my recent essays:

Knowledge Is Power

The Failure Of Propaganda

Sinking All Ships

Any Enemy Will Do

Importing From China

Geopolitics 2020

Flash Drive Revolution

The Failure of Propaganda, The Crisis of Legitimacy, and The Resort to Fascism

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2020 by jtoddring

The propaganda is hitting Goebbels level, it is getting that obvious and stark. The elite are losing the propaganda war – hence, the increasingly shrill and panicked, desperate measures. Keep up the dissidence; speak truth to the people. But do know this, which is critical to understand. We need to understand the following, right now.

The more the propaganda war fails, the more desperate the methods employed by the ruling Wall Street/Davos corporate elite, and the more screeching the tone of their presstitutes and unwitting followers. This is moving rapidly into authoritarianism, totalitarianism, and yes, fascism. In order to defeat that, and to restore democracy and freedom, we need to understand its roots, and understand our history.

The ruling bipartisan corporate elite (both liberal and conservative, and with the alliance of social democrats) have been losing the propaganda war since the defeat of the MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Investment) in 1998, and particularly since protesters shut down the WTO (World Trade Organization) talks in Seattle in 1999. These were two giant victories for grassroots popular movements, and for the global democracy movement, and the alternative globalization movement – enormous victories and landmarks which very people understand, or even know about.

(The Multilateral Agreement on Investment was a “trade agreement”, which, like most “trade agreements”, was and are, in reality, corporate rights agreements. They enshrine the rights of corporations over and above the rights of people, or the powers of democratic nations and governments. They effectively codify, legalize and enshrine global corporate rule. We have been fools to allow them to succeed and be passed into law, or signed and agreed to, and we must abrogate them immediately, in concert with other nations, and governments at all levels, and build free and fair trade, aid and mutual security alliances, rejecting NAFTA, CETA, the TPP, SPP, and the like, along with the organizations and bodies that represent the “new normal” of de facto global corporate rule, such as the WTO, WEF, BIS, Fed, ECB, World Bank and OECD. That is the critical context to understand. We can abandon all hope for humanity and the Earth until these key points and central facts are understood, at least by a small, dedicated and passionate minority who can and will make manifest the full outbreak and triumph of democracy, and the end to neofeudal global corporate rule. The MAI, in that context, was a corporate rights agreement which would have given transnational corporations even greater powers over democratic governments. It was defeated in 1998, in Canada, by a handful of activists, before the vast majority of people had even heard of it. That is the power of a few dedicated individuals. Always remember that. The power is always with the people, regardless of outward appearances. Know that, and act upon it.)

This was a monumental turning point in Western history, in 1999, when protesters shut down the WTO talks – a turning point which virtually no one recognized or noticed, aside from the ruling elite’s own intellectual courtesans, such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, along with a handful of dissidents, such as Noam Chomsky, Maude Barlow and John Ralston Saul.

The 50,000 activists and protesters from around the world, and across all social lines, whose non-violent civil disobedience and blockade shut down the WTO talks in 1999, at what has since been called the Battle of Seattle, marked a distinct, historical turning point.

It was late 1999, at those failed WTO talks, that the Western crisis of legitimacy was confirmed, and reached a tipping point. It was also at that time that the ruling Western elite realized that the outbreak of democracy which they had witnessed and been horrified by in the 1960’s, which they had consciously worked hard to suppress, had not gone away, but had only become stronger. In short, they were shell-shocked, they were outraged and indignant, and they were panicked.

(For further history, going back to the 1960’s, see Ralph Nader on the Powell Memorandum, and Noam Chomsky on the Pentagon Papers, and later, Chomsky and Holy Sklar on The Crisis of Democracy. Going forward in time, look at the COG planning under Reagan/Bush, the PNAC papers under Bush/Cheney, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Lock Step planning document, among others. The imperial elite always become filled with hubris in late stage empire, preceding collapse. They left a paper trail of their plans, motives and objectives, out of sheer arrogance. “The American people don’t read.” We know very clearly what they were and are planning, since they put it down in writing and it is in the public record. Conspiracy theory? What a foolish phrase. Look at the records. Look at the documents written by the power elite. There is no theory about it. It is simple class warfare and power lust. Only a school child would think that powerful people are incapable of evil acts. Adults know that people sometimes do horrible things. Those with great power simply have greater opportunity to do greater evil. History shows that they carry out evil actions with disturbing frequency. It is not rare. It is the norm. Power corrupts. Do not be surprised at the evil actions powerful men commit. Instead, expose them, curtail or stop them where possible, and decentralize power to prevent such evil on such grand scale in the future. That was Jefferson’s attitude, and I think it makes the most sense. But in any case, do not be naive. That would be foolish. It would also be dangerous and irresponsible. Democracy and freedom demand eternal vigilance, not naive and childish complacency.)

The crisis of legitimacy was further confirmed in early 2003, when the WEF’s own global poll came back, in time for the royal Davos annual meeting of oligarchs.

Here is the leading dissident intellectual of the Western world, Noam Chomsky, the most influential intellectual alive, based on citations, ranked as the 6th most influential figure in Western history, right after Plato and the Bible, speaking to the World Social Forum in February 2003, about the World Economic Forum at Davos and the global crisis of legitimacy, which spells trouble for the ruling elite, but spells hope for humanity and the Earth:

“Let’s start with some good news about these basic themes. As you know, there is also a conference of the World Economic Forum going on right now, in Davos. Here in Porto Alegre, the mood is hopeful, vigorous, exciting. In Davos, the New York Times tells us, “the mood has darkened.” For the “movers and shakers,” it is not “global party time” any more. In fact, the founder of the Forum has conceded defeat: “The power of corporations has completely disappeared,” he said. So we have won. There is nothing left for us to do but pick up the pieces — not only to talk about a vision of the future that is just and humane, but to move on to create it.

Of course, we should not let the praise go to our heads. There are still a few difficulties ahead.

The main theme of the WEF is “Building Trust.” There is a reason for that. The “masters of the universe,” as they liked to call themselves in more exuberant days, know that they are in serious trouble. They recently released a poll showing that trust in leaders has severely declined.”

As Chomsky noted, since its creation in the 1971, by oligarch architect Klaus Schwab, the tone at the New Palace of Versailles, as Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul has called the Davos gathering, or “the new royal court”, which the world’s leading business journal calls “the de facto world government”, was jubilant every year, and increasingly so, as profits soared and the rich grew richer, and increasingly took over the world. But in 2003, the tone turned suddenly somber, as the news of the WEF’s own global poll sank in, and the meaning of it was realized.

The WEF global poll showed a deep and widespread loss of confidence, faith and trust in political and business elites, and in existing political and economic systems and institutions amongst the people world-wide. The intellectuals in residence to the Western oligarchs explained what this means to the ruling business elite, and their political and technocratic minions. It means that the Western capitalist powers could collapse like a house of cards, just as the Soviet Union and the entire Eastern Bloc did, virtually overnight – and the collapse of the Western oligarchy could come very soon, as a result of what is known as a crisis of legitimacy.

The ruling Western oligarchs at Davos knew, or were starkly and clearly informed, that they had three options:

  1. Compromise with the people, to address and resolve the crisis of legitimacy, by increasing democracy and meeting more of the needs and desires of the people. (A New Deal compromise was once again needed to stave off revolution and collapse.)
  2. Allow the crisis of legitimacy to go unaddressed, and be swept from power – just as the Soviet elite were swept from power, and very recently, a mere three decades ago, and as were the aristocrats during the French Revolution before that, and a series of dethroned and cast down emperors and collapsed empires, stretching back through time to the Babylonian kings, and before.
  3. Refuse options 1 and 2, and instead resort to rule by force – resort to fascism, authoritarianism, and a police state.

Options 1 and 2 were quickly dismissed. Compromise was not what the elite wanted. They had resented the compromise made in the New Deal; they had resented that their preferred route of fascism had failed, so far (see, Smedley Butler and The Business Plot, and Naomi Klein’s, The Shock Doctrine); and they were not in the mood to compromise now, with greater power than any empire in history. Loss of power was, of course, completely out of the question. That left only one option in the minds of the ruling business elite. That was rule by force: resort to a police state.

As Chomsky has said, if you want to understand a society, you have to look at where power lies. Seems obvious enough. But that is called “conspiracy theory” – a phrase which Chomsky has rightly said is, “used to poo-poo institutional analysis.”

Further any serious sociological investigation, or basic observation, shows that the business elite rule the West, and by now, most of the world. (See C. Wright Mills’ The Power Elite, Peter Phillips’ Giants: The Global Power Elite, John Pilger’s The New Rulers of the World, John Perkins’ New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman, and, A Game As Old As Empire, Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, and Chomsky’s Class Warfare, Necessary Illusions, and Year 501.)

What is also true, as Chomsky has also said, is that in democratic societies where real social power is highly concentrated in elite hands, there are two options for dealing with the conflict between official democracy and unofficial or de facto oligarchy. Either reduce the power of the elite, or reduce democracy. Teddy Roosevelt, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and a few others have advocated for increased democracy. They were not warmly greeted by the ruling elite. The elite have always preferred the latter, which is the reduction or hollowing out of democracy, and explicitly so, as they have said in their written words – and viciously so, in action, with ruthless force. (See Noam Chomsky, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, and William Blum’s, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II.)

Do the Western elite prefer fascism to democracy? That would be an amazingly naive question. It would show a grim and total lack of any knowledge or understanding of history.

The next principle is that if a power elite does rule a society, as in the West today and for a very long time, there are two ways power can be kept in the hands of the few: propaganda or force. And when the former fails, the options are only two: lose power, or resort to force. Again, it is no secret which option the elite prefer, and have shown they strongly, even viciously prefer, throughout the history of the West. (The first act of the newly created CIA, for instance, was to subvert and destroy democracy in Italy, and to put the Mafia in charge of the country – yes, the literal Mafia. See Peter Dale Scott for further details.) Anyone who does not clearly understand these things frankly has no idea what is going on.

That was the beginning of the post-9/11 era: the War On Terrorism was, in reality, a continuation and an escalation of the elite-driven war on democracy. It wasn’t a sudden change of heart among the ruling elite, but simply a continuity of agenda, by both liberals and conservatives, including Saint Obama, and a heightening of the long campaign of a war on democracy, taken to new levels, out of fear and desperation, in response to the growing global crisis of legitimacy, the growing outbreak of democracy, and the failure of propaganda, leading to the resort to thinly veiled fascism, basically overt in the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act, which suspended the Constitution.

Now, in 2020, we have seen the war on democracy escalate further.

That explains the past two decades: growing public awareness, growing protests, and a growing crisis of legitimacy, led to a failure of the propaganda war, which led the ruling business elite to a resort to force, to authoritarianism, and to fascism.

This explains what is happening in 2020. It is a fascist power grab by the ruling business elite, in response to a crisis of legitimacy. To fail to contextualize events in 2020 in this way, represents either a failure of intelligence, or else a failure in honesty.

Our response should be clear enough. Defend freedom, democracy and constitutional rule; remove the Wall Street/Davos business elite and their technocratic minions and political prostitutes from power; and restore power to the people, where it rightly belongs.

If people on the left, the right, or in the centre do not realize these facts, and keep them in focus, front and centre, then they have either been corrupted, or are simply not dealing with reality, and are living in a dream world.

Perspective is everything. Stay focused, and keep the narrative clear, or all is lost.

What is the challenge of our time?

Simply put, it is the people versus the elite.

See my book by the same title, released in June of this year, available at Barnes & Noble and all good bookstores.

The People vs The Elite: A Manifesto for Democratic Revolution, Or, Survival in the 21st Century & Beyond

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-people-vs-the-elite-j-todd-ring/1137072026

We must stand up for democracy and freedom now, or it is a dark age and a gulag society, followed by extinction and collapse, which lies ahead.

Stand now.

J. Todd Ring,
September 16, 2020

Economic Theory & Reality: Revolution Now

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2020 by jtoddring

Know this: we must understand and boldly address economics in fundamental ways, or there is no hope, in terms of justice, prosperity, the environment, democracy, freedom, or peace, but only a black hole future of darkly dystopian, genocidal, ecocidal, and ultimately suicidal Orwellian corporate rule.

Economic theory and policy – what a morass. What a rotting bog! What a dung heap of self-justifying mass, systemic delusion and self-deceit. But we need to make sense of it, and cut through the fog, and urgently so. Why? Here is why.

  1. The real political philosophy, and the real, derivative economic policy that rule the world is, and has been for a long time, “Let them eat cake.” It is “the vile maxim of the masters”, as Adam Smith called it, which, as he said, is “All for us. Nothing for anybody else.” The currently ruling economic theory, model, paradigm or orthodoxy, which is neoliberalism, and its equally evil twin, neoconservatism, is simply a rationalization and a smoke screen for crony capitalism on steroids, which has over the past 50 years deliberately morphed itself, in silence, in a slow motion global corporate coup, into corporatism, which, as Mussolini said, is the merger of business and the state, and is the proper term for fascism. So, under cover of the ideological bullshit of a rising tide lifting all boats, or the trickle down theory, what we have is rabid class warfare and economic warfare, with the banking elite and the Fortune 100 biggest corporations, the richest 0.1%, devouring the poor, the middle class, small and medium businesses en mass, the real economy and economic infrastructure, the social infrastructure, and even the affluent and the merely rich, along with the planet, while amassing control of all assets, wealth, resources and power into their hands. And big government and big money are now fused into an all-consuming, ravenous, insatiable eating machine, that is not only eating the people and the planet alive, but also, all that remains of freedom, democracy and constitutional rule, driving us at break-neck speed into a barren and toxic, global dystopia that would make Orwell shudder.
  2. Ok, that was several major problems listed together, for they are inseparably linked to the central problem, which is excessive concentration of power – and that CANNOT be resolved by limiting or even dissolving government and political power merely. It requires limiting and placing strict checks on both political and also economic power. And that, by now, requires fiercesome anti-trust action to break up the entire corporate oligarchy, and, with possibly a few exceptions, break up the Fortune 1000 corporations competely. I would urge we break them up immediately, which requires Gandhian revolution, and distribute their assets to the people broadly, and globally, since they have been stripping assets globally, and turn each corporate empire into a coordinated federation of local democratic co-ops, with ownership divided in shares among three main groups: the local workers, the local community, and the global community of citizens. But however we do it, we must break them up immediately, or they will devour us, and all life on Earth along with us. Make no mistake.

Does a free market economy work? No, all questions of justice aside, it simply implodes. Chile tried it under Pinoche. It was a disaster economically, as well as sociologically. (See Naomi Klein and Greg Palast) A mixed economy had to be reintroduced to stem the hemorrhaging, and restart the collapsed economy.

Does elite run central planning work? Not well, and it creates a gulag society, as China and the USSR have shown. Not remotely acceptable, though the West has now adopted it in 2020, ominously.

Do locally owned, economically democratic co-ops work? Yes, it is amply proven. Mondragon and myriad examples prove it beyond doubt. And it is a model with vast emancipatory power, which we have barely glimpsed so far.

What must be done?

First, remove the bankers and other corporate elites from power. Nothing changes until that happens. We are living in a dreamworld if we think otherwise. That means revolution. Get ready for it. It is coming, and fast. And the enormously heightened feeding frenzy and class warfare, the ramped up, feverish economic warfare of the plutocrats on the other 99.9% of humanity in 2020 will mean that: a) economic collapse is coming fast; and b) civil war and revolution will follow right behind; with c) ruthless fascist repression unleashed in response, and rationalized in order to restore “order”.

We need to restore the power of democratically elected governments at three levels, firstly – national, provincial/state, and local. This is necessary in order to reign in the business elites, as Chomsky has emphasized, though his long term vision accords with Bertrand Russell’s, Bookchin’s and mine, which is libertarian socialism: which means freedom with compassion and cooperation, or mutual aid. Libertarians and anarchists must understand this, or tyranny is all we can expect.

After restoring democratic power to the nations, states and provinces, and to local communities, and removing the business elite from their current position as the new technocratic, neofeudal, fascist overlords, both of which are urgently required and unavoidable; then, and only then, can we decentralize power further. First things first: we must remove the neoliberal and neoconservative fascists from power, and now.

In the short term, democratic nations with mixed economies, serious anti-trust policies, free and fair trade, and both serious anti-pollution laws and green New Deal economic stimulus programs, and above all, dethroning the bankers, by ditching fiat money, implementing a tax on financial speculation, instituting serious capital controls, and dethroning the Fortune 100 by de-chartering them and breaking them up via vigorous and fearless anti-trust action (Teddy Roosevelt would understand), and restoring full constitutional rights for all, would take us a long way, and very rapidly if we have the will, toward a peaceful, clean, green, just, and free world, and a better world for all.

It’s not rocket science. Economics is the dismal science. In truth it is medieval, scholastic, quasi-religious, pseudo-science run by high priests who are as indoctrinated as they are deluded. The whole “profession” is awash in delusion and systemic self-deceit, and functionally serves to rationalize and justify rabidly anti-democratic, world-razing, sociopathic elite rule and global looting and pillaging, the strip-mining of people and the planet, and the cancerous consumption of all life. Remove the crypto-fascist sociopaths from power, and we can swiftly make real, rapid progress from there. Dethrone the oligarchs and their high priests, and we will be half way there.

The moderate grassroots right understand that the core problem is authoritarian technocratic corporate oligarchy, just as the saner minds on the left understand it. In fact, my estimate is that 30% of the people, who are on the moderate right, and 30% of the people who are on the left, understand this fact, and what needs to be done, which is to remove the oligarchs from power. Only the timid 30% in the centre quiver in their boots at such bold statements and bold propositions. Well, to hell with the eternally vacant and spineless centre, I say. Unite the right and the left, and let’s get on with the revolution and the task at hand. Remove the fascist bipartisan corporate elite from power, restore freedom and constitutional democracy, or the republic if you prefer that term, and return the power to the people, where it rightfully belongs, and we will be well on our way to a better world for all.

Don’t let the Orwellian-Machiavellian swindlers fool you. The core problem really is that simple to fix: remove the crooks from power. Restore power to the people, and now.

JTR,

September 15, 2020

Knowledge Is Power. Panic Is Death. Reconnection Is Resilience

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2020 by jtoddring

Amidst the current global pandemic of fear, what is most urgently needed is perspective.

What must be done? In sum, we must disconnect from a dying system which is sucking the life out of us, out of humanity, and out of the planet, and thereby stop supporting it, stop feeding it, and stop giving it our energy and our power. Power structures only have power when the people give them their power. When the people stop giving them their power, they collapse, as we saw in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. Remember that. That is the key. We must disconnect and decouple from dying, life-destroying systems, patterns and structures of power, and reconnect with community, nature, and our deeper selves. That will radically empower the people, while removing power from the system which feeds off the people and keeps them subjugated and in virtual chains. Only then can we begin to truly heal our world, and heal our communities and ourselves in the process.

Here are some thoughts on how we can make that shift, with the results being greater awareness, greater aliveness and empowerment, greater resilience, and a healing of ourselves, our families, our communities, our society, and the beautiful, fragile, highly resilient planet that is our home.

Belief in technology as salvation, or worse, technocracy as salvation, is a thought pattern stemming from poverty consciousness, scarcity consciousness, inner impoverishment, weakness, delusion, alienation and fear – and the belief that either technology or technocracy will be our saviour, will, I assure you, lead us into slavery, dystopia, and the slow and painful death of our species.

Knowledge is power. Bacon was right about one thing, at least.

People are afraid of wolves, coyotes, snakes, bugs, bears…the flu. Our ability to assess danger rationally in our modern, coroporate ruled, media manipulated, techno-entranced, deeply alienated society, is near zero, it would seem.

In terms of modern man’s fear of nature, it is, by and large, utterly unwarranted. Respect and alertness are needed – not fear. Nature is far safer than “civilization.”

Despite delusional and misplaced fears, which are pandemic, unless you do something stupid: like keeping food or toothpaste in your tent (bears will investigate anything with a scent that just may conceivably mean edible items), or feeding bears, or trying to pet bear cubs; or unless you’re in grizzly country, rattlesnake country, or polar bear territory, in the desert, British Columbia, the jungle or the far north; your chances of being attacked by dangerous creatures are nearly zero – in the wilderness, that is. 

The city is far more dangerous than the wilderness. Bad drivers can kill you. Even if you’re just crossing the street. Or the smog and pesticides will give you with cancer, or the stress will give you a heart attack. 

Get out of the city. Read Thoreau. Don’t follow the lost herd. Definitely don’t follow the media, the government, the technocrats or bureaucrats, the elite, or the “authorities”.

Think for yourself. Eat organic, lower your stress, exercise, and don’t believe the hype.

Most dangerous of all, statistically, are obesity and poor diets, along with poverty and malnutrition, pharmaceuticals, and cars. Covid is no more dangerous than the flu, the figures now confirm.

0.26% mortality rate for covid-19, compared to 0.1% typically for the flu, so it is slightly higher for covid-19, but still miniscule compared to cancer, poverty, hunger, malnutrition, obesity, death by pharmaceuticals, junk food, or cars. Even bathtub drownings killed more people in Japan than covid-19. Check and verify the figures for yourself. Look at the Italian government study, for a start. (See Trends Journal and GreenMedInfo for further evidence-based information and analysis.) 

Yet the lemmings panic on cue, like Pavolv’s dogs, and stay rigidly in denial of the really big dangers: growing environmental disaster, pollution, war, poverty, obesity, fast food, junk food, pesticides, and fascism.

(See my essays: Importing From China, Any Enemy Will Do, Geopolitics 2020, Trump Says Up, You Say Down… Reality Check, and, Danger & Delusion From ISIS To Ebola)

Don’t be manipulated by fear-mongering media, or elites who cynically use fear to their advantage.

Remember:

Divide and conquer is the oldest and most essential maxim and strategy of control, used by all empires, including the latest: the global neofeudal empire of technocratic corporate fascist oligarchy.

And as we also know, in terms of the corporate-state media and the elite:

If it bleeds it leads.

Necessary Illusions are good for plutocrats.

Manufacturing Consent is the basis of elite-ruled pseudo-democracy.

And any crisis will do for Shock Therapy.

Stay calm, boost your immune system naturally, with real food, omega-3s and vitamins C and D, exercise, sunlight, love and joy – and question everything.

Above all, it’s what you put in your mouth, as in, “food-like substances” which really should not be ingested, along with certain pharmaceuticals and injections, which are the biggest danger.

Get outdoors. Do your own research. And embrace your power.

Real power comes from within – and it is quiet confidence, energy and strength, that does not need to be showy or to boast.

After inner power and inner resilience, comes the power of community, and the power of nature. Build your connections on these three levels, along with a healthy body, mind and spirit, and your empowerment and resilience will grow.

Read, reflect, make time for solitude and nature, build networks of mutual aid, and we will, in the process, heal ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world.

Disconnect first. Then only can you truly connect to others, to the natural world, to your deeper self, or even to reality. Dissociation from reality is the great plague of the modern 21st century world. We are enmeshed and entangled in webs of illusion, and in systems and patterns which alienate us from one another, from nature, and from ourselves. We must, therefore, disconnect from human systems that are, to a high degree, based in delusion and dissociation from reality, in order to better connect to the real world, to ourselves, and to one another.

If you have not yet, then begin now: learn to love books, reading, reflection, solitude and nature; and the nourishing of your body, your spirit, and your mind.

Rediscover your love for others, for community, for the natural world, for humanity, for the Earth, for learning, for creativity, free expression, and for yourself. We all had these things naturally as small children. We have been socially conditioned to lose them, to deny them, and to suppress them. But they can and must be rediscovered – especially now, when our world is in crisis. These are the core things which will heal our world, our communities, and ourselves. Not technocracy, not Big Brother, not plutocratic elites posing as saviours, not technology, not drugs: it is love and wisdom which will heal us and our world. That requires that we disconnect from certain things, and reconnect with others.

Disconnect, listen, observe, read, reflect – these things are critical. Make the time. Nourish your body, and also your mind and your spirit. Then you can reconnect with life in deeper, healthier, more joyful, empowering, and more meaningful ways.

We must disconnect and decouple from the systems, patterns, thinking, organizations, groups and substances which drain our energy, deplete us, divide us, further alienate us, exploit us, degrade us, or make us sick. That generally comes in small steps; although, many have taken great leaps, as have I, many times, and that works too. Sometimes small steps are all that is possible. Sometimes a great leap is required to save our sanity, our soul, or our very lives.

We must examine things for ourselves, question everything, and decide for ourselves what is truly life-supporting, nourishing, or life-enhancing, and what things merely give the illusion of being life-supporting, nourishing or life-enhancing, but in truth degrade, disempower, alienate, exploit or impoverish us, drain us or enslave us. We must unplug, pause, and reflect deeply, in order to even begin to think clearly, or to see what is going on.

Excessive time spent staring into electronic screens, excessive time spent in buildings or cars, the mainstream media in general, the corporate world and corporate culture in general, the fiat money system, the myriad “food-like substances” which are in truth more poison than nourishment, along with the fundamental, root poisons, which are ignorance, greed and hate: these are among the things we must disconnect from, and which literally and figuratively drag us down.

Some things require a complete disavowal and refusal, such as crack cocaine or hillbilly heroine, or other dangerous drugs and other addictions, for people who have succumb to them. I would place the major media and the Fortune 1000 biggest corporations in that category, as well: they are poison, and they are life-destroyers. They must be boycotted and renounced.

Other things, like the internet, the phone or the TV, simply require a more balanced approach, and frequent disconnection, rather than permanent disconnection. (Although, I respect people who choose to eliminate them entirely from their lives, especially TV, and there are good reasons for such a response.)

But I leave it to you to decide what we must disconnect from, either completely or periodically, for greater well-being, quality of life, health, healing, ethical standards, empowerment, fulfillment, the healing of ourselves and our world, and simply for greater aliveness and joy.

There is much entanglement and much debris in our minds and our lives. Clearing our minds and our lives of entanglements and debris, and clearing away physical and mental toxins, is vital now.

Disconnect: We must first disconnect in order to reconnect; and thereby, live and love more fully, and with greater empowerment and joy. Then only, come the revolutionary changes and the regeneration we urgently need.

Reconnect: with others, with nature, and above all, with your deeper self. That is where our true power, liberation and resilience lie. Not in drugs, not in money, not in material things; and certainly not in cynical elites posing as the protectors and saviours of humanity.

A global awakening of humanity is underway, and is growing with accelerating speed. Remember that. The people will triumph. The oligarchs of East and West will fall. Our world will be healed, and regenerated, and the people will be free.

J. Todd Ring,

September 9, 2020

Further reading:

My first two published books:

Enlightened Democracy: Visions For A New Millennium

And

The People vs The Elite: A Manifesto For A Democratic Revolution, Or, Survival In The 21st Century & Beyond

And see my other recent essays:

Flash Drive Revolution

The Death and Rebirth of Freedom and Democracy

Covid Update

Any Enemy Will Do

Importing From China

Sinking All Ships (But Our Own)

Geopolitics 2020

Global Overview 2020

The Certainty Of Death, Or The Death Of Certainties

Also critically important:

The Hero With A Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell

World As Lover, World As Self – Joanna Macy

Choosing Reality – Allan Wallace

The Protestant Ethic & The Spirit Of Capitalism – Max Weber

The Pathology Of Normalcy – Eric Fromm

The Corporation – Joel Bakan

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Brave New World Revisited – Aldous Huxley

Roads To Freedom – Bertrand Russell

Mutual Aid – Peter Kropotkin

The Empathic Civilization – Jeremy Rifkin

The Ecology Of Freedom – Murray Bookchin

The Chalice & The Blade – Rianne Eisler

Wisdom of the Elders – David Suzuki

The Wayfinders – Wade Davis

Stolen Continents – Ronald Wright

Year 501: The Conquest Continues – Noam Chomsky

A Short History Of Progress – Ronald Wright

Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail Or Succeed – Jared Diamond

Necessary Illusions – Noam Chomsky

Class Warfare – Noam Chomsky

The New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman – John Perkins

The Shock Doctrine – Naomi Klein

The End of America – Naomi Wolf

The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil & The Attack On American Democracy – Peter Dale Scott

Iron Heel – Jack London

1984 – George Orwell

Giants: The Global Power Elite – Peter Phillips

The Power Elite – C. Wright Mills

The New Rulers of the World – John Pilger

A Game As Old As Empire – John Perkins

Escape From Freedom – Eric Fromm

Shambhala: The Sacred Path Of The Warrior – Chogyam Trungpa

The Discourse On Voluntary Servitude – Etienne de La Boitie

Walden, and, On Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

Personal Sovereignty, Body Sovereignty – The Foundation Of A Free Society

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2020 by jtoddring

All our laws rest on constitutional law. All constitutional law rests on habeus corpus, and “the Great Writ”, the Magna Carta. The central axiom and ultimate foundation of all rule of law, all constitutional law, and all human rights, rests upon the principle which was set down and re-affirmed in the Magna Carta, 800 years ago: the principle that each individual has the natural and inalienable right to the sovereignty of his or her body and person. That means, you cannot be swept up off the street, or removed from your home, summarily arrested, and held indefinitely, without trial, for example.

The sovereignty of an individual over his or her own body and person means it is both unethical and reprehensible – and, since we have come to realize more fully the meaning, and have begun to apply the principle more honestly and more consistently – as well as illegal, to enslave, torture, rape, or murder another person or group of people. If there is no body sovereignty, then all these crimes and evils become commonplace, because the door has been thrown wide.

Without the fundamental respect for the sovereignty, and the sanctity, of the individual over his or her body and person, we put ourselves and all others on the level of beasts; and worse, on the level of bags of meat, to be rendered up, by anyone, or any powerful group, governent or institution, as they see fit.

In short, we become cattle, and the world becomes a slaughterhouse.

Without habeus corpus and the Magna Carta, and more fundamentally, without a fundamental respect, in both law and culture, for the natural and inalienable sovereignty of the individual over his or her own body and person, all evils are possible, and truly, all hell is set loose on Earth.

These are critical things to understand, and to remember; especially now, when the absolute bedrock of our most fundamental rights, along with freedom and democracy, is being systematically undermined, and destroyed.

There is, in reality, no absolute freedom, nor any true control, since there is no linear causality, and all things and all individuals and living beings are interdependent. That also means there can be no true body autonomy. However, while any form of individual autonomy is always a pipe-dream and an illusion, sovereignty over one’s body and person is fundamental and inalienable.

Remove our basic instinctive, intuitive, legal, cultural, spiritual and moral respect for the sovereignty of the individual over his or her own person and body, and every evil and abuse of power, from minor annoyances, to slavery, torture, mass internment and mass murder, become not only possible, but inevitable.

Stop now and think. Reflect deeply. We are sliding down a very slippery slope into a hell of our own making; but it is not too late to change course.

JTR,

August 15, 2020

Post-script:

Jonathan Turley, Joel Bakan, and everyone of sound mind and good conscience, please weigh in on this critical subject, at this critical, pivotal time.

We need to speak up, before we are all silenced, or worse.

The trends toward authoritarianism were clear since at least 1970 and the Powell Memorandum, to all who were paying attention. Now, it is no longer coming. It is here.

Central in what is coming globally, will be the battle, hopefully non-violent, between the authoritarians and the anti-authoritarians. Central to that, will be the question of mandatory, enforced vaccinations – and worse.

It is not a question of being in favour or against vaccination, to be clear – and the point must be emphasized. It is a fundamental question of whether we live in a demcracy and a free society, or whether we will allow ourselves, or others, to be treated like cattle, with all of our most basic and fundamental rights stripped away. That question, we are actively or passively deciding, right now. Speak up.

Elon Musk & The Limits of Genius

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2020 by jtoddring

“We don’t have heroes anymore. We have people who are known for their knownness.” Having no heroic public figures left, we resort to worshipping people who are merely well-known, simply because they are well-known.

I overstated the matter here, as I studiously avoid doing in general, to make a point. We do have heroes, but they tend to be unknown by more than a few people, or censored, suppressed, marginalized… And the majority resort to venerating, and yes worshipping, the merely well-known, in response.

Elon Musk has made interesting statements about the present and the future. He intelligently prefaced them by saying it is extremely difficult to predict the future; and further, wisely implied that the future depends on our actions – a point which is not viscerally realized the way it should be, and needs to be, by all.

He sensibly points out the urgent need to switch to renewable energy. He intelligently appeared in an interview wearing an OCCUPY t-shirt. And he has proven he is both innovative, and savvy in business.

(In fact, he has a brain, a heart, and a spine: a combination which, today, is a rare.)

That does not make him omniscient, of course.

Our culture is in love with money, materialism, consumerism, gadgets, entertainment, distraction, toys, trinkets, power, fame, wealth – and celebrity status. The cult of worship directed at business elites, professional athletes, certain public figures, famous actors, and celebrities in that broader sense, is truly delusional, deranged, infantile, and dangerous. I think Musk would agree to that.

(I think Gates would agree; but not so secretly is in love with the idea of power.)

Musk’s remarks, however, on genetic engineering, place him firmly in the George Jetson techno-fantasy camp of people who believe that: a) technology will solve every human social and ecological problem (no spiritual, philosophical or sociological reflection or change required); and b) rushing headlong into new technologies, for the imagined or even proven benefits, could never have an unintended down side. (Such as with CFCs, DDT, thalidamide, internal combustion engines, car-centred suburban-oriented cities and urban sprawl….and the list goes on.) His remarks on wet-wiring a direct connection between the human brain and computers, shows a further level of giddy naive intoxication with technology as risk-free panacea.

(See geneticist David Suzuki for a much more informed view of genetic engineering.)

People too typically think that because someone is intelligent, educated, famous or successful, therefore they are an authority on all subjects. But being clever at business, does not mean you know jack shit about public health POLICY, political-economy, social or political philosophy, history, or sociology – and that lack of understanding in these five areas make any statements by, for example, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, or Dr. Faucci into such realms, purely baseless, and full of hot air: as substanceless as a fart in the wind.

(Yes, Faucci too: because tracking a virus is different from being at all competent in public POLICY. And in the end, the latter is for public debate to decide, not any group of elites – if we are to live in a democracy, and not under an authoritarian police state, that is.)

I am not putting Elon Musk down. (The other two could give Dr. Mengela a run for his money, or Goebbels; but I think Elon Musk, by contrast, is a rich man with a conscience. Another rarity.) He seems principled, humanitarian, and good-natured, as well as bold, resourceful and creative. I quite admire him. But I do not worship at anyone’s feet. Nor to I believe celebrity-worship, or authority-worship, or worship of any elites, to be fitting for adults. My point is to question the habitual deference to authority which the great majority of people demonstrate daily. That is the single greatest danger that we face.

Think for yourself. As the Buddha said, Question everyone, even people you respect.

And remember, the future is what WE make it.

(We, the 99% – or the 100%. Not just the ruling 1%.)

Do not be a by-stander. And do not let a docile obedience lead the way – that would be disastrous; as history has proven, time and time again.

JTR,

August 11, 2020

 

The Death & Rebirth of Freedom & Democracy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2020 by jtoddring

 

The two greatest threats to freedom and democracy in the West, as well as to peace, justice, or even a viable future for humanity, are, without question, the currently reigning de facto world government of neofeudal corporate oligarchy, along with its ruling apologetics, which is the corporatist ideology of neoliberalism; and the fascist order which it is rapidly morphing into.

The Red fascism of China’s totalitarian neo-feudal corporate-Mandarin model is simply the mirror image of the neo-feudal corporate fascism of the West. And although few realize this fact either, the two have effectively merged, like the double coil helix of a mutagenic DNA, which is the new cancer spreading over the world, and devouring all.

We either come to understand these three deeply intertwined phenomena better – the neoliberal corporate oligarchy of the West, and its mirror in China, and the global fascist order the two are clearly transmuting into – or we will soon be slaves, living in a poisoned, gulag world, watching the Earth slowly die.

*

What is fascism?

Fascism and neoliberalism are widely misunderstood. As is the state of contemporary China widely misunderstood, though perhaps less so, because it is so stark. This must change. We must first see, before we can act with both purpose and effectiveness.

Fascism is widely confused with flags and banners, slogans, uniforms, marching styles – mere outer drapings. It is even more widely confused with racism, xenophobia, and a very malignant form of nationalism. The latter three elements are common to fascism, but they are not the heart of fascism. The heart of fascism, and the only essential element, is what Mussolini himself defined it to be: it is the merger of business and the state.

And that is exactly what we have seen over the past 50 years, with the Powell memo of 1971 and soon afterward the Trilateral Commission’s publication of The Crisis of Democracy, the rollback of democracy and the re-engineering of the economy, the de-linking of the US dollar from any real world connection (the 1971 decoupling of the dollar from gold, and unilateral abandonment of the gold standard by the US), the birth of heavily financialized global crony capitalism, and the emergence of neoliberalism and corporate globalization. All of this represented the slow-motion fascist coup which is the big business take-over of both government and the global economy.

Fascism is not men in black uniforms goose-stepping in the streets, necessarily. It is the hyper-concentration of power in the hands of the few, whereby big business has effectively usurped and taken over the powers of democratic governments.

And there can be a fascism with a right-wing face, or a liberal face. The outer guise does not matter. It is the concentration of real power which is the central definition and sole, truly grave danger.

It is not the window dressings we need to be afraid of, but the lust for power which is at the core of fascism, and which has clearly been at the core of neoliberalism, its for-runner, for well over 40 years.

What is neoliberalism?

First of all, neoliberalism is not static. It is always changing. The cancer stage of capitalism describes it well, as the Canadian philosopher John McMurtry put it.

Neoliberalism is always morphing. There is no permanent state of neoliberalism. It began with crony capitalism, and it is moving toward its culmination, which is fascism.

The central tendency of neoliberalism is the same as crony capitalism, or capitalism itself: it is the tendency to concentrate wealth, and therefore power, in ever greater degrees, in ever fewer hands.

What began as liberal capitalist democracies in the late 1700’s, quickly devolved and descended into crony capitalism, which means societies effectively ruled by business elites, with democracy reduced, by and large, to an essentially hollow shell.

That wasn’t much of a step, since that was essentially the starting point of Western liberal capitalist democracies. They were dominated by land-owning elites, slavers, merchants and manufacturers from the outset. It was easy and natural to continue that trajectory of de facto elite rule.

Thomas Jefferson saw what was happening in 1812, when he said, “I pray we shall crush the birth of the moneyed aristocracy in its infancy, for already it bids defiance to our laws and seeks a contest of strength with our democratic government.”

But we failed to listen. We did not place checks and balances, or any effectual limits, on the natural tendency of capitalism to concentrate wealth, and thus to concentrate power.

The result is neoliberalism: a social order in which business elites – the less than 1,000 corporate CEOs and 1,000 billionaires who meet yearly at Davos – effectively rule the world, and rule over every major nation and government, with few exceptions.

But the important realization is that neoliberalism is not the final end point of this historically unfolding trajectory. It is just a mid-point on the arc. The descending arc of modern democracy runs from 1776, through crony capitalism, through neoliberalism, to its natural conclusion – which is the full merger of business and the state: which, again, as Mussolini said, is called corporatism – which, as he said, is the proper term for fascism.

There is nothing new with neoliberalism. As Chomsky said, it is not particularly new, and it is not particularly liberal. What it is, is a bid for power. Business elites 200 years ago simply wanted more and more wealth and power, and they got it. 200 years later, having effectively taken over the global economy, the financial system, the media, much of academia, science and the church, and most governments and international institutions in the world, the ruling business elite are now seeking to consolidate their power – before they lose it.

They are keenly aware that they have been in the midst of a rapidly deepening, global crisis of legitimacy, which is quickly coming to a global tipping point. Their advisors have told them what this means. It means the Western corporate oligarchy could collapse like a house of cards, virtually overnight, just as the Soviet Empire collapsed, between 1989 and 1991.

The Western elite are terrified of losing power, and at the same time, have never had such dizzying heights of power – although it is increasingly, and undeniably, fragile. They simply want to batten down the hatches and hold onto what they’ve got – as the new rulers of the world – by any means necessary. Fascism is simply the most expedient means to their desired end. In fact, it is the only means available. It is either that, or it is major compromise with the people, and the tolerating of real democracy – which they decidedly do not want; or else, losing power altogether – which they are adamantly opposed to.

The Western elite see the resort to a more authoritarian, and highly controlled, technocratic, scientific fascism, as their only means to keep their power – without having to compromise with the pesky 99.9%, or demands such as justice, equality, freedom, democracy, civil liberties, environmental concerns, or anything that might require a sharing of wealth or power.

*

In 2020, we are seeing the Western and Eastern oligarchies carry out a test run and a social engineering project with a global mass house arrest and lockdown of society, rationalized by a greatly exaggerated public health crisis.

The facts are coming in now, to confirm what should have been obvious from the beginning. The mortality rate in Europe this year is no higher than in the three previous years, and in fact lower, despite the “pandemic”. The centre, right and left all swallowed the hook, line and sinker of this latest propaganda war, and accepted the trial run of fascist lockdown – cheerfully. They will, it is hoped, soon come to their senses, and check the facts, and more importantly, question the rationalizations for a global police state.

What was emerging in 2019, was a global wave of democratic uprisings, and the beginnings of a wave of global democratic revolutions. This explains the 2020 lockdown, along with the end of the line for the ability of vast money printing to keep afloat a wildly unstable global economy.

The bastardized germ theory, or what has become the standard narrative, simply does not fit the facts. Sociological analysis explains what should have been obvious from the start. Elites are scared of losing power. They are lying in historically typical ways in order to hold onto power.

A sixth grade child could understand it. How is it that our best minds cannot?

*

Whether it is sooner or later, the people of the West must reclaim their democracy and their freedom. And in China, they must discover that this is, in fact, a better way than the Maoist-corporatist Confucian totalitarianism, which they currently have.

In the world’s biggest democracy, which is India, with the second largest middle class in the world, the people must decide if they wish to see the death of the Gandhian dream, of freedom, democracy, self-government and independence, tolerance and peace, as the country which for thousands of years has been one of the great spiritual lights of the world descends into a narrow-minded, bigoted, petty and brutal, barbaric neoliberal/neoconservative corporatist oligarchy and fascist state, a la Modi, sowing war both within and outside its borders, like a mad leper devouring his own flesh; or whether, perhaps, they can imagine something better.

(And I am with Gandhi, Vandana Shiva, and Arundhati Roy: I say they can.)

Whatever transpires in the weeks, months and years ahead, we will not see neoliberalism last. It is rapidly descending, or morphing, to be precise, into the full merger of business and the state, which is fascism. Only the willfully ignorant, or most dogmatic of ideologues, can refuse to see this most obvious fact by now.

Whether this new, second wave of fascism lasts decades, or is but a brief flash, is up to the people to decide. But if it lasts for long, not only will freedom and democracy, human rights and dignity be crushed, at least temporarily; but so too, will all chances and all hopes for a green and sustainable society; or even, a viable future of any kind for humanity on Earth.

This is our last stand. Make your choices well.

*

Roughly 650 years ago, in the mid-1300s, the Black Plague spelled the beginning of the end for feudalism. While the global “pandemic” of the CIA-Wuhan Flu in 2020, so far, and by all present measures, is infinitely smaller in magnitude than the Black Death, and more on par with the common flu; the draconian lockdown and mass house arrest of more than three billion people has caused an economic meltdown that is fanning the flames of social unrest, which were already extremely high and rising by 2019.

We can look at that authoritarian lockdown and its implications in two broad ways – other ways being frankly deceitful, or else delusional. Ominous and disastrous, is one side of the implications. Potential for great, tectonic social change, is the other side, and equally as real. Crisis always presents opportunity, as well as roads to change.

However, in the early 21st century, unlike the 14th century, with the neo-feudalism which we are now facing, both East and West, we do not have 400 years to throw it off, and rise above it.

If it takes us 400 years to overcome our present global neo-feudal order, or even 40 years, then humanity, by all likelihood, and almost certainly, will have ceased to exist, for the global ecosystems of the world will have long since been degraded to the point of collapse.

Whatever we are going to do, we had best reflect deeply, and be clear as to the true meaning and implications of our actions. What we do not need now is to forge the shackles and chains of our own slavery, or sow the seeds of our own destruction, thinking that is the road to freedom, to happiness, to security, or to a better world.

Moreover, whatever we do, we had best do it now. We have simply run out of time for any kind of denial, dithering, delays, avoidance or evasion, procrastination or hesitation. The time, quite simply, is now.

Democracy must be reborn. It truly is, now or never.

JTR,
April 8, 2020

Political Philosophy 101: Democracy vs Elite Rule

Posted in democracy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, fascism, freedom, neo-feudalism, neocon, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, people's movements, philosophy, police state, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 17, 2020 by jtoddring

Use anything and anyone to gain and maintain power. That is the Machiavellian philosophy which rules the minds of the power elite, both East and West, as Howard Zinn has indicated as well. Public health, human well-being, conscience, principles, morals, freedom, democracy, other high ideals, have nothing to do with it.

We are not preschoolers. Let us not take the attitude of preschoolers.

Most people, the great majority, as Chomsky has said, “have basically decent impulses”. The power elite, however, have gained, and maintain their power, generally speaking, and with few exceptions, by abandoning all morals, (see the text of NSC-68, for example) and becoming, by and large, sociopaths. We must resist them, and dethrone them. Democracy is vastly preferable to fascism, to be sure; but fascism is what we will have if the people do not question more, and take their democracy back. And the hour is late.

JTR,

March 17, 2020

 

Further reading – big picture analysis:

Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control In Democratic Societies,
Year 501: The Conquest Continues,
Class Warfare,
and
Requiem For The American Dream: The Principles Of Concentration Of Wealth & Power
George Orwell, 1984
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, and Brave New World Revisited
Yevgeny Zamyatin, We
Jack London, Iron Heel
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine
David C. Korten, When Corporations Rule The World
Susan George, Shadow Sovereigns
John Pilger, The New Rulers Of The World
John Perkins, A Game As Old As Empire, and
The New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman
C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite
Peter Phillips, Giants: The Global Power Elite
Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom
Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom
Bertrand Russell, Roads To Freedom
Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self
Ronald Wright, A Short History Of Progress

 

Justin Trudeau and the Continuing Saga of Canadian Apathy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2016 by jtoddring

A recent poll shows strong support for the Trudeau government in Canada, and I have to think, once again, that it is surprising to see that Canadians can be so uncritical and unquestioning of their government.

Yes, Harper was defeated, and yes, that was a good thing. But the current government under Trudeau Jr. is deeply flawed, and criminally negligent, at best – and that is the best you can say about them.

Trudeau Jr. is still subsidizing big oil and the fossil fuel industry, still pushing for oil pipelines, still blocking serious action on the environment. And we are still waiting on serious action on the lack of safe drinking water for 120 native communities and 1,600 municipalities across the country – in one of the seven richest countries on earth, with the means to provide all Canadians more than a decent standard of living, and certainly vastly more wealth and resources than is needed to simply provide clean, safe water for all. And further, the Trudeau government has so far refused to cancel or reject a plan by Ontario Power Generation to bury radioactive waste in the Great Lakes basin, even though every radioactive waste facility ever built has leaked, and despite the fact that the Great Lakes provide drinking water to 40 million people. And all of this entails what can only be called criminal negligence in the extreme.

Beyond that, the Trudeau Liberals refuse to raise corporate taxes to reasonable levels, say, where they were in 1960, at roughly 40%: and as a result, must work with a self-inflicted short-fall of revenues, meaning that health care, education, social and environmental programs cannot be properly funded.

What this means is that the Liberal Party is no longer a liberal party, as it was up until the government of Pierre Eliot Trudeau, Justin Trudeau’s father, in the late 1970’s. For more than thirty years, the Liberal Party of Canada has been yet another party of neoliberalism, which is to say, another party run by and for big business. And central to the neoliberal, pro-corporate agenda, is austerity for the people, with giant subsidies, bail-outs, “stimulus” packages and tax breaks for the corporations and the rich. This is why we have inadequate funding for health care, education, social programs and environmental programs in Canada, as in the US and Europe, despite the fact that Canada is one of the richest countries on earth: neoliberalism and a corporate agenda have taken over – and the Trudeau Jr. government is just the latest expression of this criminal posse of neo-feudal corporatists, gouging the people to further line the pockets of the rich.

At the same time, the young Trudeau signed the TPP, which effectively spells the final death blow to Canadian sovereignty, and democracy in Canada. Few actions could express a greater or more utter incompetence, or criminality, depending on how you want to view it.

And while talking about “a principled foreign policy,” Trudeau Jr. approved the arms deal signed by Harper to ship more arms to the Saudis – the most brutal regime in the Middle East, and one of the worst human rights abusers in the world.

Saudi Arabia is also the country which is the primary arms provider and source of funds to ISIS and Al Qaeda. Principled foreign policy? This is not only criminally negligent, at best, to be sending more arms to the Saudi dictatorship; it is also a disastrous and extremely foolish policy which is guaranteed to blow back in our faces, as Saudi Arabia continues to fuel terrorism, even while it proclaims it is fighting it.

And along with arming the Saudis, Trudeau continued the bombing in Iraq and Syria, not only breaking his election promises, but violating international law, and thereby committing what are under international law, nothing less than war crimes. Yes, principled foreign policy indeed. Only now has this criminal and foolish behaviour and disastrous policy been halted – one point for which we can be glad in an otherwise dismal reign to date.

(And yes, it is a reign, when 40% of the popular vote can give you 100% of the power in government, and a four year coronation.)

And finally, Justin Trudeau promised to bring in proportional representation, to fix our quasi-democratic electoral system, and bring it into the 21st century, or even the 20th. So far, we have seen no action on this critical issue of democracy, and another Trudeau promise goes either broken, or simply ignored and abandoned.

Those were just election promises, right? Nobody takes those seriously. Well, clearly they shouldn’t when it is either the Liberal or Conservative Party in question.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth May, the only political leader in the country at the federal level who deserves to be called a leader, or who has any clue as to what is going on, apparently, or any spine, or integrity, or vision to bring to bear on the issues we face, is largely ignored by both the media and the people.

Are Canadians clueless, or are we simply a people that cannot seem to shake off a long tradition of public apathy? I think the latter is the case, and I do not know what will rouse them from their slumber, or bring them to their senses.

During the recent federal election, there was a wave of political passion across the country – which is to say, as passionate as Canadians get about anything other than hockey, beer and Tim Horton’s – as we the people decided to remove a much reviled Conservative government from power. Then we all went back to sleep. Or at least the majority seem to have returned to slumber land. What does it take to get Canadians to shake off their long-standing habit of apathy and complacency? I truly do not know.

JTR,
March 2, 2016

 

US Intervention In Syria: The Next Iraq

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2016 by jtoddring

Here is a very brief synopsis of the US role in Syria. We will, for the sake of brevity,  leave aside for the moment the obvious and documented facts of the US arming and supporting of the very terrorist groups they claim to be fighting; as well as the fact that the majority of “rebels” in Syria are associated with either ISIS or Al Queda; and the the third fact, that the reason the US is arming and supporting the very groups it claims to be fighting is in order to overthrow yet another government in the Middle East. We will instead focus on the broader picture.

It is becoming clear to any who are paying attention, and any who remember even recent history, that Syria is rapidly becoming the next Iraq – a country set on fire in an unending cauldron of violence and civil war, with no resolution and no peace in sight, and nothing but a black hole and a quagmire for all involved.

After five years of war and geopolitical battles among rival powers, half a million Syrians have now been killed, the country is in ruins, and there are now over 11 million Syrian refugees, in the biggest humanitarian disaster since the war in Iraq. And we have to ask, who is to blame?

Who is to blame for the bloodbath in Syria? This seems to be the question of the hour. Tomorrow, or soon after, there will be another bloodbath, and there will be other scapegoats, and the grand game of assigning blame will turn once more, and as usual, with all the same repeating patterns. But let us ask that central question of this present moment, at this present moment: who is to blame for the turmoil and war in Syria, and the massive human suffering that is the escalating result of it?

I don’t think there is any question that many players or factions are involved in what is going on in Syria – no one seems to want to respect national sovereignty or the self-determination of peoples, much less international law, and it seems like everyone wants to coerce the Syrian people into accepting their own particular wishes and demands for what kind of government the Syrian people should have.

Among others, there is the Syrian government, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and Iraq involved. ISIS and Al Queda are of course involved, but as very knowledgeable observers have noted, they are more a symptom than the cause of the turmoil, and they are being armed and funded by other, larger powers – particularly Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States.

And we can add to the list of parties who have involved themselves in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, Canada, Europe, Israel and Russia. But there is also no question that Washington and the CIA are playing a major and pivotal role in the war in Syria, and nobody of any sound mind doubts that, for it is obvious.

And if we look to recent historical precedents in the region, we can see a clear and obvious pattern: in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya….. and that is without going further back, over the past 60 years of US foreign policy, beginning with the Washington/CIA overthrow of the democratically elected Mosaddegh government in Iran in 1957 – an extremely foolish and short-sighted, as well as criminal action, which gave birth to the extremist Islamic movements in the Middle East to begin with; or much longer, from the time of the Mexican-American war in the mid-1800’s, which Thoreau detested and wrote about, and before, from the time of the Indian Wars and the colonization of what was to become the United States of America.

The US has been a rising global super-power since the early 1800’s, until its recent decline, and one with a clear case of infantile grandiosity (the doctrines of Manifest Destiny and the like make this clear) and a self-justifying messianic complex, covering, only thinly, an obvious imperial pursuit of territorial expansion, conquest and hegemony, and of course, simple wealth and power.(See Noam Chomsky, Year 501: The Conquest Continues, for an overview of the past 500 years of Western history.)

To be fair, the US was on the right side, on the side of freedom and democracy, during WWII; and along with Canada, Britain and other nations, and most pivotally Russia, the US helped to defeat the horror of fascism. But before and since, the US has been on the wrong side of history, more often than not. And that is because the US has been ruled, from 1945 until the present, and for the better part of its history before WWII, by a political elite who have been the willing puppets and servants of big business and moneyed interests – exactly as Thomas Jefferson had warned. These are the simple, ugly facts of the matter. This can change, and it will change, when the American people are ready for it, and willing to make it happen, but at present, the US is still a dangerous rogue super-power that is ruled by Wall Street – and with truly disastrous consequences both for the American people and for the world.

And in recent history, who was the major player responsible for the utter devastation of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya? The evidence is indisputable. These countries are now basket cases, and have been destroyed, and set aflame in civil wars – and it is the United States and its allies who are primarily responsible for these terrible atrocities, with well over a million dead, and nations laid to waste.

And although Washington had allies, and allies who will be recorded in history as having been actively involved in war crimes, the central player was the US government and the CIA in all three cases. The record speaks for itself.

The US government has been, and continues to be, dedicated to a policy of global hegemony, as its actions clearly and unquestionably show, and as its own internal record plainly speaks. (See documents from NSC-68 to PNAC and beyond.) And such actions are not only abominable, unconscionable, and in violation of international law, and furthermore, war crimes, under the precise definition of international law and the Nuremberg Trials; but furthermore, they create three very clear results: 1) countries are destroyed, and democracies either destroyed or prevented from arising, and with great human suffering and mass murder in every case; 2) there is inevitable blow-back, or negative repercussions, because such violent invasions and “regime changes” – that is, coups, in more honest and less euphemistic terms – create great hatred and fanaticism, and hence, more terrorism, exactly as the US intelligence community had predicted; and 3) the world becomes an ever more dangerous place as a result of such actions.

We cannot white-wash the involvement of Washington or the CIA in the Middle East, or Syria in particular. Their role has been, and continues to be, simply disastrous.

All nations have a duty to respect the sovereignty of other nations, and the right of peoples to self-determination. This basic principle, the principle of non-aggression, is the very foundation and under-pinning of international law, as well as the foundation for real and lasting peace. Currently, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Europe, Russia, and even the traditionally peace-loving Canada, along with the leading actor, the world’s dominant super-power, the United States, are all disregarding and violating these basic principles. And it is complete disaster which is the result, as all can clearly see, as well as a greatly heightened instability and danger – not just in Syria, not just across the entire Middle East, but for the world, as a conflict between super-powers looms, with Russia, China and Iran lining up on one side, and the US and its allies and proxies on the other, in an extraordinarily dangerous, and frankly insane, set of power games.

Let the madness end. The people of Syria can and will find a way to peace, and determine their own future, and what kind of government they want to have – but only if other powers in the region and in the world stop meddling and let them have the space to breath and to settle things for themselves. At present, the involvement of the US and other foreign powers is doing nothing but creating ever greater suffering and chaos, and no good will come from it.

The words of Henry David Thoreau come to mind. “If I knew someone was coming to do me some good, I should like to get as far away as possible.” I think by now, a great many people in Syria and the Middle East would like to be free of the “help” they have been receiving. Such help has been a nightmare and a horror, to say the least.

A basic respect for national sovereignty and the rule of law would be infinitely more helpful, but no one seems to be interested in that. That does not serve the underlying motives of empire fetish, and ego-maniacal, greed-driven power games.

Hands off Syria. This is the most urgent point of the matter.

If we truly want to help the Syrian people, then we should send food, emergency shelter, doctors and medical supplies, and we should take in refugees, and give shelter to those in need. Sending more arms, bullets and bombs is not going to help the situation. Indeed, it has only made the situation a thousand times worse than it already was, before our “help” arrived.

J. Todd Ring,
February 27, 2016

 

For further readings, video commentaries and analysis, see:

Noam Chomsky

Paul Craig Roberts

Michel Chossudovsky

Tulsi Gabbard

John Pilger

CounterPunch

The Real News Network

Global Research

And as a start, here is Noam Chomsky, speaking with his usual lucidity, saying clearly that if we want to halt terrorism, we have to do pretty much the complete opposite of what we’re doing now, which will only increase terrorism, not reduce it, much less end it:

http://www.actvism.org/en/events/noam-chomsky-ueber-die-terroranschlaege-in-paris/

 

 

 

 

 

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